Discrimination Sociology

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The renewed interest in the potential role of prejudice has been established by persisting racist vices in society. Throughout the history of ethnic, religious and ethical diversity, slavery, genocide and war have always caused many social problems. Such social evils have always gained the attention of progressives who actively defend against discrimination, unlike the age of civil rights. A number of factors including gender, age, ethnicity, skin color and sexual orientation may also be reduced by discrimination (Schmitt et al. pp.921). According to scholars, the various impacts and unequal treatment of aspects of discrimination can be established. Differential treatments are experienced when people are segregated based on their cultural, racial or religious stands. Desperate impacts, on the other hand, is witnessed when people are treated equally but one group is favored more than the other (Fuhrman pp.34). Despite the immense progress that has been made with regards to the end of discrimination, the world still encounters challenges that are caused by discriminatory belief systems and behaviors (Fuhrman pp.41). Such discriminative vices are evident through the provision of poorer housing, inferior education and lack of promotion. The lack of fair societal judgments has developed major problems that have occupied the public domain. The difficulties include mental and physical instability, poor lifestyle and self-perception. Racial bias in the medical profession, for example, can have damaging effects on a persons’ health. Unfair hiring and wage inequality, on the other hand, are the greatest perpetrators of poverty. Although instances of racial segregation have been greatly reduced, some people still associate the blacks with some sense of stereotype. This article is, therefore, a discussion of the various aspects of discrimination, scholar’s perspectives on discrimination and the effects of discrimination.

Perspectives on Discrimination

Theoretical Perspective

In efforts to measure the presence and extent of discrimination on a specific economic or social domain, researchers has found it necessary to develop theories of how such discriminatory acts can occur and its effects. During the development of the discriminatory theories, the scholars have subdivided discrimination into various types. The diverse forms include; intentional, unconscious, statistical and organizational discrimination. As Reich (pp.100) argues, discrimination is a continuous act and not instantaneous. The justification of this comments is described through a cycle involving discrimination. The procedure according to the research begins with verbal antagonism and end with extermination (Reich pp.107). Each step throughout the cycle contributes to the next. Verbal antagonism with regards to racism includes disparaging racial comments and casual racial scars. Despite the fact that such statements might not be considered as unlawful because of the freedom of speech, they constitute a clear form of hostility. When combined with other forms of non-verbal discriminative acts, verbal hostility can be very detrimental towards the existence of a society. Besides intentional discrimination, statistical discrimination also result in unfair treatment of the disadvantaged in the society. As Ewens et al. (pp.122) describes, statistical discrimination is evident in situations where a firm or an individual uses the overall perceptions of a certain population to arrive at a judgment. Judgments for this kind of approach will thus depend on the characteristics of a particular group. This kind of perception as Triana et al. (117) states has seen the blacks get stereotyped as having a more likelihood to engage in criminal activities compared to the whites. Organizations on the other hand have in many cases reflected many biases that are in line with those that work within them. The organizational rules as stated by Triana et al (pp.118) tend to evolve from previous experiences that are not easily restricted. Such experiences in many cases are marred with negative effects of racism and discrimination. According to Hutchinson (pp.67) although convincing cases of proof can complicate real-world experiences, the law has touched on the theoretically prohibited discriminatory instances that emanate from either racial or religious concerns. More subtle cases of discrimination however are quite hard to handle from a legal perspective. As presented in the discussions above, there can be no conscious bias that can prompt a particular group of people to discriminate against the other. Discrimination have therefore developed concerns amongst the human rights workers on subjects to do with fairness and equal provision of resources. As Hutchinson (pp.79) presents, discrimination is not only the greatest cause of poverty but also the biggest hurdle in the fight towards its end. Discrimination as presented the book has bypassed the Millennium Declaration goals that have been adopted by many nations. Despite the fact that equality and non-discrimination are important human right principles that do not require instrumental justification, many people continue to live extreme social status due to unfair treatment. The development of government policies according to Clifton (pp.954) should be based on equality regardless of physical or social status. The move serves to ensure that fundamental human rights principles are respected and upheld. The struggle towards a just society continue to develop concerns with regards to the willingness of authorities to develop strict regulations against discrimination. As discussed above, the fact that discriminative acts are innate mean that there is need for them to be handled from childhood. Growing up in an environment that already has an established system of interaction amongst diverse members mean that the end of such vices requires joint effort. Organizations and societal institutions have an important role towards the end of discrimination. The society most importantly has the capability to influence what is wrong and what is rights. Adoption of the correct societal status is thus mandatory in the fight against discrimination.

2. Prejudice is the Major Cause of Discrimination

According to Doane (pp.130) the humans are naturally motivated to categorize objects and individuals. The study also shows that cases of discrimination go beyond concepts of natural cognitive behavior. Research shows that the attitudes of those that discriminate reflect a wider set of complex factors that include economic trends, social perception, history and socio-cultural practices (Doane pp. 131). Discrimination, as presented, is thus supported by prejudice and not cognitive reasoning. As described by Kite (pp.65) there is a self-fulfilling prophecy that joins prejudice with discrimination because once people develop negative perceptions towards a subject, they are likely to practice discrimination towards it. Those that have been discriminated in many cases expect those around them to be prejudiced. This fact leads to the development of a defensive behavior which fuels the tension between the out-group and the in-group. Furthermore, prejudice justifies the action of the members from the in-group as it makes them feel that their perceptions about the out-group are justified. Discrimination thus has a major role in the maintenance of prejudice. As discussed it first begins by developing a blame game in the society in which those that have been discriminated blame those who practice discriminatory acts. In turn, those with prejudice blame the oppressed for pointing a finger towards them. It thus becomes hard to solve cases of discrimination as neither group is willing to heed the call of their counterparts. According to Simpson et al. (pp.65) the end of discrimination will only be achieved through approaching cases of prejudice from an early age. The fact that negative perceptions are culturally conditioned mean that preconceptions about a certain culture or race are developed while people grow. Ensuring that children learn to appreciate diversity during the socialization process is thus important in ending cases of discrimination. If not approached well, therefore, cases of discrimination have the capability to escalate into more social problems now and in future.

As Bar-Tal (pp.43) presents, one problem with a big number of people is that they think about discrimination and prejudice only in extreme conditions such hate crimes or genocide. The perception has made people hide issues to do with cultural intolerance. Cultural intolerance, however, plays a critical role in the extension of prejudice as it alienates a particular community because of diverse voices. The end of discrimination is thus begged on the end of prejudice. According to Bar-Tal (pp.54), there are a series of factors that contribute towards prejudice. Such can include police brutality based on social or racial backgrounds or towards anti-Islamic bullying in various learning institutions. Although some scholars have developed discussions on whether prejudice can be an inherited factor, it is clear that many discriminatory acts are learned through interaction with diverse people. Racism as a major form of discrimination is fully entirely begged upon social prejudice. As Bar-Tal (pp.67) argues, racism is an intolerance that is arrived at based on the biological distinction of race. This distinction in racism is also evident in other forms of discriminative behaviors where people like or dislike individuals based on the social structure that champions for prejudice against them. Prejudice and discrimination thus are two components that determine the interaction between diverse people. Even with the technological and societal advancements, cases of discrimination continue to escalate. The pronouncement of many acts of discrimination thus is not begged upon the societal advancement but individual resolution to champion against discriminative vices.

Effects of Discrimination

Discrimination, according to Fuhrman (pp.56) causes immense political, economic, social and psychological problems. Overcoming the vice is thus mandatory for the society to realize ultimate success. As various researchers have continuously championed, no nation or society is immune to effects that come with discrimination (Fuhrman pp.60). In worst scenarios, discrimination has been accompanied by extreme eventualities that include apartheid, slavery, genocide, and disenfranchisement. Whether intended for not, denial of equal opportunities develops a sense of political disempowerment, loss of self-worth and alienation. The presence of ethnic hostilities and prejudice in any country presents a major danger to peace both internally and externally (Kite pp.65). Many countries have however realized the dangers associated with social prejudice and have thus instituted a new global moral order. While a big number of people recognize that the various measures that have been constituted in order to curb cases of prejudice are not properly adhered to, it is evident that a new international consciousness against discrimination has been adopted (Kite pp.70). The effects of discrimination in a society in many cases touch on religion, race and economic status. Religious discrimination as presented by Bar-Tal (pp.647) have the capacity to cause a world crisis. The fact that a particular religion has an immense following throughout the world means that the denial of fair treatment based on the religious subscription has the capability of causing a world war. Regardless of whether one is an adult or a child, instances of discrimination cause severe injuries. Such injuries if not checked can develop into mental or emotional characteristics that can be difficult to handle. Emotional effects in extreme cases cause problems to the physical health.

Discrimination or harassment also hold a significant impact on the educational life. Many students as presented by Doane et al. (pp.54) have either dropped out of school or have not achieved to their standards because of discriminative vices. Some have even resorted to drug and substance abuse in order to curb the mental pressure that comes with a feeling of rejection by the society. Societal development depends on mutual understanding and fair allocation of resources (Clifton pp.78). When people are not provided with equal opportunities, however, extreme social vices such as conflicts and poverty arise. The effects of discriminative behaviors are also present in places of work. The success of a company relies on the supportive measures and the well-being of the employees. Cases of discrimination in such an environment thus reduce the morale the workers leading to low profits and closure of the business in extreme cases. Through an approach that is free of discrimination, a company can be able to nature the talents of the employees as well as provide a platform in which the people work without stress. With full realization of the dangers that come with discriminative vices, many authorities as have initiated various legislation that is geared towards the end of discrimination. Such laws have had a significant impact such as the end of slavery and the provision of equal work opportunities to the diverse members of the community. The society has also been sensitized on the need to practice fair judgment regardless of their religious belief, race or gender. The move serves to promote harmonious understanding amongst the societal members in efforts to ensure that no member is segregated. The end of discriminative is a collective responsibility that must be embraced by all the members of the society.


In conclusion, discrimination goes against the most important principles of the current society. It is, in fact, a threat towards democracy and the values of free and fair society. As presented in the discussions, fairness is a cornerstone of human rights and thus must be upheld. As various professionals focus on the social development process, it is crucial that they place key attention on where all modern civilizations develop, the schools. The end of discrimination will also be begged on the acceptance of every societal member to abstain from discriminative vices and champion for a fair society.

Works Cited

Bar-Tal, Daniel, et al., eds. Stereotyping and prejudice: Changing Conceptions. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.

Clifton, James A., ed. The Invented Indian: Cultural fictions and government policies. Routledge, 2017.

Ewens, Michael, Bryan Tomlin, and Liang Choon Wang. “Statistical discrimination or prejudice? A large sample field experiment.” Review of Economics and Statistics 96.1 (2014): 119-134.

Doane, Michael J., and Marta Elliott. “Perceptions of discrimination among atheists: Consequences for atheist identification, psychological and physical well-being.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 7.2 (2015): 130.

Fuhrman, Susan. “Diversity amidst standardization: State differential treatment of districts.” (2017).

Hutchinson, Dale L. Disease and Discrimination: Poverty and Pestilence in Colonial Atlantic America. University Press of Florida, 2016.

Kite, Mary E., and Bernard E. Whitley Jr. Psychology of prejudice and discrimination. Psychology Press, 2016.

Laird, John. Hume’s Philosophy of Human Nature (Routledge Revivals). Routledge, 2014.

Reich, Michael. Racial inequality: A political-economic analysis. Princeton University Press, 2017.

Schmitt, Michael T., et al. “The consequences of perceived discrimination for psychological well-being: a meta-analytic review.” Psychological Bulletin 140.4 (2014): 921.

Simpson, George Eaton, and J. Milton Yinger. Racial and cultural minorities: An analysis of prejudice and discrimination. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.

Triana, M. C., Rabl, T., Byun, S. Y., & Chapa, O. (2016, January). Discrimination, Motives Behind Organizational Diversity Efforts, and Intent to File a Claim. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2016, No. 1, p. 11777). Academy of Management.

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